The research firm, Gartner, has reported that global smartphone sales declined by 2.7% in the first quarter of this year. The reason for the slowdown in sales was attributed to reduced innovation in new products, and the rising prices of premium models. The U.S. and China saw the most phones sold but sales declined in those markets by 15.8% and 3.2% respectively during the first quarter.
Discussing the news, Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner, said:
“Demand for premium smartphones remained lower than for basic smartphones, which affected brands such as Samsung and Apple that have significant stakes in high-end smartphones. In addition, demand for utility smartphones declined as the rate of upgrading from feature phones to smartphones has slowed, given that 4G feature phones give users great advantages at a lower cost.”
One surprising bit of information is that Huawei managed to hang on to its second place ranking when it comes to smartphone sales. The company’s market share increased 5.2% YoY from 10.5% in 1Q 2018 to 15.7% in 1Q 2019 with units sold increasing from 40,426 to 58,436. With recent developments around Huawei, it’ll sure be interesting to see if they’re doing this well next year.
Oppo and Vivo also saw their shipments increase but Samsung and Apple shipments declined. Apple’s and Samsung’s decline in sales is hardly surprising as they’ve most brazenly increased the prices of their high-end flagship models above $1,000 which is just too much for most people to pay, even on a contract which lasts several years. Xiaomi didn’t make an appearance in the top five vendors as it was beaten ever-so-slightly by Vivo who managed to sell just 200,000 more devices.
It’ll be interesting to see, going forward, whether or not phone manufacturers can deliver reliable foldable phones and sell them at a price that people are happy to pay. Most people are content with the features their current handsets deliver and don’t see many compelling reasons to upgrade, but an affordable foldable could persuade potential customers.